Looking for an easy appetizer that everyone will love? Sausage Crostini is a simple recipe that’s quick, easy to pull together, and sure to please a crowd.
A Protein-Packed, Flavor-Packed Appetizer Idea!
What’s the best thing about parties, holidays, and other special occasions? The opportunity to cook, eat, and share delicious foods with the people we love the most! This is a great appetizer to serve at your own house, or to take to a party to share. Meaty Italian sausage, creamy mascarpone cheese, and fennel make it a mouthwatering little bite. Everyone will come back for more!
The recipe as written makes enough sausage crostini for a crowd, so I like to serve them during the holidays. If you have a smaller gathering to feed, you can cut the ingredients in half to make a smaller amount. Serve at dinner alongside salad or pasta. No matter how you decide to serve them, these easy sausage crostini are sure to be devoured.
What Is the Difference Between Bruschetta and Crostini?
The main difference between bruschetta and crostini is the issue of bread size. Bruschetta is usually made of larger slices of bread, toasted and topped with various toppings. Tomato topping is probably the most famous.
Crostini, on the other hand, are much smaller. Sliced from skinny baguettes, a crostini is bite-sized, or maybe large enough for two bites. That makes them perfect for an easy finger food or small, manageable appetizer.
Let’s take a look at the ingredients you will need to make this easy recipe. Here’s the list in detail. (Note – if you are looking for the complete recipe card with the ingredients, amounts, and instructions, just scroll down to the bottom of this post.)
- Italian Sausage: Sweet is fine, or you can use spicy if you like it hot.
- Mascarpone Cheese: This creamy Italian cheese adds a smooth texture and rich, but subtle flavor to the topping.
- Fennel Seeds: I like the taste of fennel in Italian sausage, so I add extra – if you’re not crazy about fennel, feel free to leave this out.
- Mozzarella Cheese: Shredded, for sprinkling on top.
- Baguette: You can use a crusty artisan baguette or a classic French baguette.
Let’s Make Sausage Crostini!
When it comes to party food, I am always happy to find a recipe that’s easy as well as interesting – that’s a great combination! Sausage crostini is both. It will definitely be a hit with your guests because of the meaty, herby flavor and crisp bread. And it will be a hit with you, because it’s absolutely hassle-free to prepare.
- Prep the Oven and Bread. First, you’ll want to preheat the oven to 350°F. Next, use a sharp or serrated knife to cut your bread into half-inch slices.
- Make the Sausage Topping Mixture. Remove the casings from sausages by slicing down the center of each one, lengthwise, and removing the meat inside. Place the sausage meat in a bowl, and crumble it a bit with a fork. Add the cheese, seeds, and salt, and mix evenly. (Don’t overmix, or the sausage mixture will be tough.)
- Bake! Arrange the bread on a baking sheet, and spread some of the sausage mixture over each piece. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella, and bake for 15 minutes.
- Enjoy! Remove the crostini from the oven, top with parsley, and serve warm.
How Do You Keep Crostini from Getting Soggy?
Soggy crostini are usually a result of adding toppings to the bread that end up releasing moisture – think chopped tomatoes, lettuce, and dressings. At first, these items are fine on a piece of toasted baguette, but after sitting around for a little while, things can get soggy.
This recipe doesn’t have too much moisture going on, so you shouldn’t have that issue. If you’re concerned about excess moisture, I would recommend choosing a fairly lean sausage, like Italian sausage made with chicken rather than pork. That way, the sausage topping won’t have as much fat to melt and soak into the bread.
Tips and Variations
This recipe is so simple to make, but you can also tweak the recipe to create an even easier dish, or one that’s just more to your taste. Here are a few changes you can make:
- Bread: A thinly-sliced baguette is my go-to, but you can also use other thinly sliced bread (or sliced breadsticks, for even smaller crostini).
- Cheese: If you’d like to make changes to the cheeses, go for it! Smoked gouda is especially good instead of mozzarella, while a topping of grated parmesan adds even more cheesy flavor.
- Sausage: I use Italian sausage in this recipe, but you can also make it with another bulk sausage, such as breakfast sausage. Alternatively, make your own “sausage” by combining ground turkey or pork with your favorite spices, like fennel seeds, garlic powder, onion powder, or sage. Pro tip: add a little honey or maple syrup for that classic “sweet” sausage flavor.
- To Toast or Not to Toast: Lots of crostini recipes call for brushing the bread with olive oil and toasting it before adding the toppings. If you want an extra-toasty result, feel free to do this prep work. Keep in mind that some types of sausage can be a bit oily, so you may want to skip adding olive oil.
Yummy Serving Suggestions
I like to serve these tasty crostini as a party appetizer, to keep guests pleasantly munching before the meal begins. Another great way to serve them? Part of a buffet of finger foods or small plates! Round out the buffet with more easy appetizers like these:
- Dip: Dips and dippers are a favorite at any party. This Vegetable Goat Cheese Dip is made with creamy, tangy, fresh goat cheese, asparagus, and other goodies – perfect with pita chips or bagel chips.
- Spicy Deviled Eggs: Nothing’s better than a classic deviled egg, unless it’s one of my favorite Spicy Deviled Eggs made with Sriracha, prosciutto, and finely chopped cornichons.
- Appetizer Meatballs: Everyone loves a sweet and tangy meatball recipe, right? These Sticky Sweet Meatballs are dairy-free and vegan, too! That’s right, there’s no meat in these tasty little “meatballs,” but they’re super tasty and work for almost any diet.
What to Do with Leftover Crostini
Most kinds of crostini do not work well as leftovers, because of the fragile toppings. They are best enjoyed fresh. However, if you have leftover sausage crostini that have been sitting out for less than 1 hour, you can cover them with plastic wrap or pop them in an airtight container and store them in your fridge for up to one day. Reheat them in the oven at 350°F until they are piping hot. The bread may get a tad crunchy (somewhat like a crouton), but the crostini will still be safe to eat.
- 3 Italian sausages casings removed (you can use spicy Italian sausages if you prefer)
- 5 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 artisan baguette or French baguette
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Slice bread to 1/2 inch slices.
- Remove casings from sausages by slicing down length and removing the meat inside. Place meat in bowl and crumble with a fork. Add cheese, fennel seeds, and salt to the bowl and mix evenly.
- Arrange bread over a baking sheet.
- Using a knife (I used an offset knife) spread sausage mixture over bread. Top with a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and top with parsley. Best served warm.